TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A hotpot restaurant in New Taipei faces a fine of between NT$60,000 (US$1,900) and NT$200 million if it fails to pass inspection this week, following an incident when a rat fell onto a customer's plate.
On Sunday (Nov. 26), a woman posted about the incident on the Facebook page “I am a Banqiao resident” (我是板橋人) where she had taken her friends from Taichung to eat at Chien Tu Shabu Shabu Hotpot Restaurant’s Shuangshi B branch in Banqiao District. However, halfway through the meal, a "Super! Big! Rat!" fell from the ceiling.
She and her friends were so shocked they immediately left the restaurant. She said many customers were still waiting in line outside.
Rat falls on plate. (Facebook page "I am a Banqiao resident" photo)
The diner said other guests appeared unphased by the incident and continued to eat. She was bewildered at how people could continue to have an appetite after the massive rat appeared, she said.
Later that day, the restaurant issued an apology for the disturbance and said operations had been suspended for two days, reported Mirror Media. It said a professional cleaning company had been hired to disinfect the restaurant.
The hotpot chain said that over its 27 years of operation, it has placed great importance on cleanliness. After an investigation, it said that recent disinfection work around the ground floor perimeter may have led rodents to seek refuge inside the ceiling.
Staff member picks up rat. (Facebook page "I am a Banqiao resident" photo)
It apologized for "causing a panic among customers." It vowed to conduct an internal review and thoroughly clean the restaurant to provide customers with a "dining environment in which they can feel at ease."
The New Taipei City Department of Health inspected the premises based on the Regulations on Good Hygiene Practices for Food (食品衛生良好規範準則), reported China Times. Inspectors found that the restaurant had hygiene deficiencies, such as failing to implement vector prevention and control at the kitchen's back door and failing to cover trash cans.
The health department ordered the restaurant to make improvements within a time limit. If the restaurant fails follow-up inspections, a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$200 million will be imposed, it said.